Tatjana von Solodkoff
University College Dublin
Fictional characters are awkward creatures. They are described as being girls, detectives, and cats; as being famous, based on real people, and well developed, and as being paradigmatic examples of things that don’t exist. It’s not hard to see that there are tensions between these various descriptions—how can something that is a detective not exist?—and there is a range of views designed to make sense of the pre-theoretical data. Fictional realists hold that we should accept that fictional characters are part of ‘the furniture of our world’. Others are fictional anti-realists, who hold instead that our world does not contain any such things. In this article, I deploy an independently motivated metaontology to defend a novel version of fictional anti-realism. On the view I develop and defend, the central task we face is that of explaining facts concerning fictional characters, where the relevant notion of explanation is distinctively metaphysical in character. Fictional anti-realism emerges as the plausible thesis that facts about fictional entities can be completely explained in terms of the existence and features of other things.
Keywords Fictional realism  fictional characters  Philosophy of Fiction  Metaphysics  Metaontology  grounding  Quine  van Inwagen  Thomasson  Ontology
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DOI 10.3998/ergo.12405314.0006.022
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